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on February 28, 2004
The Paths of Darkness Collectors' Edition is a very good deal to all avid readers who want to have all the enchilada in one. I for one, waited for this collected edition before I read it rather than read the individual books as they got released.
While it is nice reading, and it did deliver to the standards as R.A. Salvatore can give, it must not be compared to its predecesors, The Dark Elf and Icewind Dale Trilogies, or suffer a less than generous review.
It has the usual elements in Salvatore's previous books: the detailed action sequences, the way the villains are introduced (usually at the epilogues or the first chapters), and the believably slow and gradual development of each characters and how they relate to each other. Its selling point is probably the reintroduction of Drizzt's archenemy, Entreri, with a twist. And a focus on the Drow mercenary chief, Jarlaxle, seems to give promise to the excitement of this epic.
As a whole, this book is recommended for those who vigilantly follow Drizzt Do'Urden's adventures. But to those who haven't read the Previous Trilogies and the Legacy of the Drow series, I suggest you read those first to fully appreciate this book. While it did not give the same level of excitement the previous books gave, it's still good reading for another piece of Drizzt, our friendly neighborhood drow.
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VINE VOICEon July 17, 2007
The Paths of Darkness compendium includes R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novels published from 1998 to 2001. The principle storyline for this series is the return of Wulfgar from imprisonment by the demon Erttu, and his stuggle to come to grips with his new life. Three of the books included in this one make up the final part of the 'Legend of Drizzt'. One book, Servant of the Shard, seems to have been included in this volume only because of publication order. It is actually the first book of the separate 'Sellswords' trilogy and doesn't really have anything to do with Drizzt and Co.

In The Silent Blade (Forgotten Realms: Paths of Darkness, Book 1), a fresh new adventure for the Companions of the Hall is began. As Drizzt and Co. head out to Spirit Soaring to have Cadderly destroy the (same old) Crystal Shard, monsters hound them at every turn. Wulfgar struggles with inner demons until he finds a place as a bouncer for a rough tavern in Luskan, where he has a great time bashing heads and drinking booze. Artemis Entreri travels back to his roots in Calimport to begin reestablishing his name and fortune. Jarlaxle has ventured out of Menzoberanzan in the search for power and wealth and coaxes Entreri to join his plans. Character development is the primary thing that stands out in this book. Wulfgar, Entreri, and Jarlaxle especially grow as characters. [4-star rating].

The Spine of the World (Forgotten Realms: Paths of Darkness, Book 2) is completely devoted to the continuing struggle of Wulfgar, who cannot seem to overcome his inner demons and allows himself to fall into a rather shameful existence. The story consists of two separate plot-lines that briefly come together near the end of the book. Wulfgar and Morik (who develops nicely here) fight, are framed, get beat, leave Luskan, fight, are framed, get beat, and so on. The other story was actually the more intriguing to me. It involves characters that we've never met before and their emotional wrangling. A hi-bred lord courts a lowly peasant (Meralda), who goes along with it for her family's sake but makes a big mistake in getting knocked up by another man. The two stories come together in an unpredictable way that results in a hugely surprising and satisfying ending. [3-star rating]

The third book in the Paths of Darkness, Servant of the Shard (Forgotten Realms: Paths of Darkness, Book 3), probably shouldn't have been included in this collection. It is really somewhat of a duplicate book, released two different times with different looking covers, the second time as book one of The Sellswords. It is also one of the most enjoyable Salvatore books to date. The Sellswords series follows the adventures of Artemis Enreri and Jarlaxle. This perfect couple is extremely well-developed and are fun to read about. In book 1, the Crystal Shard occupies center stage as the story began in The Silent Blade is continued. The annoyingly pious Cadderly plays a part in the latter parts of the book, but doesn't do too much harm to the story. Excellent fighting scenes and plenty of action make for a fun and exciting read. [5-star rating].

In Sea of Swords (Forgotten Realms: Paths of Darkness), the story of Wulfgar is rejoined for the final book of the Legend of Drizzt. As the Companions of the Hall set out to retrieve Aegis-Fang from the pirate Sheila Kree, it seems nothing could stand in their way. Wulfgar finally comes to terms with his new place in life, and is reunited with his old friends before the final battle. A mysterious elf from Drizzt's past has plotted to slay Drizzt for years and the two meet in an epic clash. Overall, this was a bit disappointing for a Drizzt novel, particularly because of its being the last in the series. [3-star rating].

Overall, these books really start to lose interest as the reader becomes inundated with Drizzt and his friends. The heroes (except Wulfgar ironically) become practically invincible and the stories become predictable. I'm just glad that I'm finally through the Legend of Drizzt (although I probably will read The Hunter's Blades trilogy).
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on February 11, 2016
This is a fantastic read. Drizzt is back in action and I couldn't be happier. I really enjoy the fast paced, multi-dynamic characters, and branching story lines in this book. Drizzt's internal struggle with his race and is morals is fascinating to watch unfold.

If you have launched into this world you should definitely give it a shot. RA Salvatore is a fantastic author and continues to impress. Now I have to content myself with seeing Drizzt in my mind until they finally wise up and put him on the big screen.
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on November 25, 2015
Have been a big fan of Salvatores for years now. I usually just borrowed them from a friend, but needed to get a copy of his works to loan out to people I thought would enjoy it. If you haven't read his work and are a fan of epic fantasy, then I would highly recommend this series
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on January 8, 2014
I went through these books insanely fast. This is a fun series, and it's great having so many books in one great collection. There were a surprising number of typos, but they didn't distract from the atmospheric world of Drizzt.
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on March 3, 2013
My son is an avid fan of this character. He thinks these story's have a lot of heroic symbolism that is lacking in a lot of stories today. I have read through some of them myself and find that the moral character diplayed by Drizzt is something that is lacking in a lot of modern tales.
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on June 30, 2013
Fantasy action fans should enjoy this book series. The characters are what makes his books stand out from the rest. Well written but light prose keeps the action going page by page and you will want to see what happens to them next.
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on March 24, 2013
I enjoy the fight scenes, the quests, the general storyline of all Drizzt novels etc. Always action and adventure with fantastic descriptions of who, where, when, what's going on etc. Just all around fun!
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on May 22, 2012
This compiled edition includes The Silent Blade,The Spine Of The World,Servant of The Shard,Sea Of Swords. Loved this series since has a lot of Wulfar and his tortured path along with caring friends Drizzt, Cattie Brie and Bruenor.A trailing unrelenting assassin Artemis Entreri and why he want to prove himself the superior fighting with Drizzt, lots of twists and intrigue the Companions of the Hall leave Mithril Hall and adventure Faerun and the Sword Coast. Mr. Salvatore also introduce us to some colorful new characters as Wulfar side kicks and intriguing Bregan D'Aerte drow lieutenants assisting the not so heroic Jarlaxle always in his self serving quests.I give it only 4 instead of 5 stars because some great characters are introduced to only be killed shortly ( no spoliers)... *sigh. Read these books is a must to any R.A Salvatore and Drizzt fans!
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on December 19, 2011
This is just another great book, in a long line of the great Forgotten Realms series. I am fairly new to the whole Drizzt series, and I've been reading it in order. I am totally entwined with everything about it!! The characters feel so real, and you can almost SEE everything happening in your mind! Great books. I love them! Everyone into Fantasy Books, should give them a read!
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